Genetic bowel cancer blood test developed by Australian researchers

The test co-developed by an Australian biotechnology company and the CSIRO, detects the presence of two genes, BCAT1 and IKZF, which are known to hypermethylate in colorectal cancer tumours.

Using plasma samples from 2187 Australian and Dutch volunteers, researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide found that the test identified 85 out of 100 colorectal cancer cases (65%).

However, positivity rates varied from 29% for stage I tumours to 89% for stage IV. For the tumour element of tumour node metastasis staging, rates ranged from 43% for pT1 to 71% for pT4.

Dr Larry LaPointe, CEO of Clinical Genomics who co-presented the results of the trial at the Digestive Diseases Week conference in Chicago this week, said the blood test was not designed to replace the faecal occult blood test (FOBT) but was a reasonable secondary option for patients who cannot, or will not, participate in faecal testing.

“Above all we believe that stool